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How does Shakespeare use language to develop character in one scene from 'Much Ado About Nothing'?

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Introduction

How does Shakespeare use language to develop character in one scene from 'Much Ado About Nothing'? The play 'Much Ado About Nothing' by William Shakespeare, regarded as a comedy, takes place in the city of Messina in north eastern Sicily. It focuses on the activities of two war heroes and the women they love. Shakespeare shifts back and forth between the stories of the couples: signor Benedick and Lady Beatrice, niece of Leonato (governor of Messina); Count Claudio and Hero, daughter of Leonato and he connects them into a combined whole. Young lovers Hero and Claudio are to be married in one week. To pass the time, they unite with Don Pedro, Prince of Arragon, to set a "lover's trap" for Benedick, an arrogant confirmed bachelor, and Beatrice, his favourite sparring partner. Meanwhile, Don John, Don Pedro's bastard brother, plans to break up the wedding by accusing Hero of unfaithfulness. Although in the end it all turns out to be 'Much Ado About Nothing'. I have decided to explore the character of signor Benedick and the nature of his love for Lady Beatrice in Act 2 Scene 3 - "Leonato's Orchard". Shakespeare adopts numerous linguistic techniques in order to develop the character of Benedick in 'Much Ado About Nothing'. ...read more.

Middle

And, until there is a woman who does he will remain a bachelor. Whilst his immodest behaviour grabs our interest there is one thing that Benedick does not compromise about: '' and her hair shall be of what colour it please God.'' Benedick not only shows us his arrogance towards women but also a weakness in this characteristic. He does this by not stating the colour prefence of his ideal womans hair, instead chosing to have an openmind on the subject. Don Pedro, Claudio and Leonato enter the orchard thus forcing Benedick into hiding in the arbour as he wishes to be unseen. Aware of their eavesdropper they start to speak of Beatrice's passion for Benedick: '' Come hither, Leonato. What was it you told me of to-day, that your niece Beatrice was in love with Signor Benedick?'' '' O God, counterfeit! There was never counterfeit of passion came so near the life of passion as she discovers it.'' The three have a mission to set a "lover's trap" for Benedick and he starts to fall for the things they rant about. "Bait the hook well; this fish will bite.'' Benedick - "Is't possible? Sits the wind in that corner?" They have Benedick where they want him to be, the plan goes well. ...read more.

Conclusion

The trickery by the men has lead to Benedick's reconsideration of his love for a woman: "When I said I would die a bachelor, I did not think I should live till I were married. Here comes Beatrice. By this day! She's a fair lady: I do spy some marks of love in her." Here Benedick shows us that his having second thoughts of love and sees himself getting married before he dies. The men send Beatrice to get Benedick for dinner. He is love-struck and analyzes every word that comes from her mouth and is already thinking like a lover. He believes that she loves him but Beatrice is still unharmed and dislikes him. Throughout the scene Benedick has showed us an immense change of character. He has shown us that he was once an arrogant bachelor who disbelieved in love and then turned into a devoted lover. The play is made more realistic via Shakespeare's use of language which makes the reader feel closer to the characters, this is because they can watch them in their most content or unhappy moments. We feel sympathy or frustration towards characters because we feel helpless when we can see everything that is developing while they remain ignorant. Another wonderful technique used by Shakespeare is the development of complex characters, making them more true and realistic to life as they keep changing throughout the play. ...read more.

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